There’s no such thing as a get-rich-quick strategy in Elder Scrolls Online if my name isn’t M’aiq the Liar! Unfortunately, without any sort of global trading system, ZeniMax has made things confusing for would-be market moguls. After bumbling around with all of Elder Scrolls Online’s different systems, I’ve learned that it’s possible to generate a reliable 10k gold per hour in ESO with naught more than a little elbow grease and the right set of tools. The byproduct of my aforementioned stumbling is this comprehensive guide to making ESO gold without breaking a sweat.
In this guide you will learn how to attain the most gold whilst crafting, gathering, trading, looting, and committing heinous acts of villainy. All of which are perfectly lucrative opportunities for the average ESO player, especially those without spare gaming time. So without further ado, let’s get started.
Disclaimer: This guide assumes that you’re subscribed to “ESO Plus,” the monthly membership package for Elder Scrolls Online that includes a 10% increase to gold gain, double bank space, access to the bottomless Craft Bag, and entry to every DLC — minus Elsweyr. Wherever addons are referenced, it’s assumed that you’re playing the PC version of ESO. Sorry console players!
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Grind Resources – ESO Gold Farming Method 1
ESO is great in that you can passively accumulate crafting materials in your Craft Bag. All you need to do is walk in virtually any direction. Pluck food from tabletops and shelves. Search through urns, barrels, and crates. Dredge through dark caverns and hostile campsites for treasure chests and rare mushrooms. Go foraging through the woods for stray logs and explore waterways for glimmering Nirnroots. The likelihood is that you’ll accidentally hoard stacks of items that other players want to purchase. Best of all, you’ll find highly coveted crafting motifs and recipes while you’re at it.
Of course, if you want to gather materials like a pro, it’s important that you harvest as many resource nodes and pick up as many loose items as you can carry before heading back to town. Additionally, you should deconstruct all your spare equipment pieces and glyphs each time you visit their respective crafting stations. Don’t go selling them to NPC merchants!
In order to juice the most output from equipment deconstruction, you absolutely need to take (and max out) the following skills:
- Metal Extraction III (Blacksmithing): Increases chances of materials dropping from deconstruction and makes it possible to extract Tempering Alloy.
- Unraveling III (Clothier): Increases chances of materials dropping from deconstruction and makes it possible to extract Dreugh Wax.
- Aspect Extraction III (Enchanting): Increases chances of finding Runestones from deconstruction by 10%.
- Jewelry Extraction III (Jewelry Crafting): Increases chances of materials dropping from deconstruction and makes it possible to extract Chromium Grains.
- Wood Extraction III (Woodworking): Increases chances of materials dropping from deconstruction and makes it possible to extract Rosin.
You can also allocate skill points into hirelings that mail you rare material shipments every 12 to 24 hours. Hirelings make it possible to find much more valuable crafting items (such as tempers) more often, without putting effort into grinding for them. Here are the skills, determined by rank:
- Lumberjack Hireling III (Woodworking): A hireling will send a bundle of materials every 12 hours.
- Hireling III (Provisioning): A hireling will send a bundle of materials every 12 hours.
- Hireling III (Enchanting): A hireling will send a bundle of materials every 12 hours.
- Outfitter Hireling III (Clothier): A hireling will send a bundle of materials every 12 hours.
- Miner Hireling III (Blacksmithing): A hireling will send a bundle of materials every 12 hours.
The HarvestMap addon is a handy tool for marking the locations of resource nodes in your UI. When you travel to a resource node, the addon will automatically drop a pin that’s composited over the game world, in your map, and on your compass. You can easily install HarvestMap and other addons with the help of a tool like Minion. Keep in mind that HarvestMap doesn’t come packaged with any preloaded data, but it does let you import pins from an external file. HarvestMap also offers an (optional, but highly useful) heatmap mode that calculates pin density and lays out your best-known travel path for resource farming.
To make resource farming more efficient on a node-by-node basis, put 75 Champion Points into The Lover constellation, which grants Plentiful Harvest and Master Gatherer. The former gives you a 10% chance to harvest 100% more resources when gathering, while the latter cuts your gather time by 50%. If you want to increase profits from treasure hunting and container looting, placing 75 CPs into The Shadow constellation will grant you the Fortune Seeker and Treasure Hunter perks, which will (respectively) net a 50% increase to all gold gain and an arbitrary increase to treasure chest loot quality.
Flip Goods for a Living – ESO Gold Farming Method 2
No matter what some low-balling Baandari peddler tells you in a /zone chat or on a forum, Elder Scrolls Online’s player economy is still home to the hottest chunk of capital in Tamriel. The sole problem for newbies here is that ESO doesn’t have a centralized marketplace, which may understandably throw off seasoned players of traditional MMOs such as World of Warcraft. Instead, each member of a guild can post, at maximum, 30 listings (individual items or item stacks sold directly) on its Guild Store that are only visible to other members of the same guild. If a guild wants its members to sell to the rest of the world, it must rent a Guild Trader; an NPC merchant that any random player can approach and purchase items from.
Guild Traders are permanently bound to specific locations in cities or in remote areas and, when speaking to one, you will only see item listings from the guild that’s renting it. In practice, this means the market is comprised of many walled gardens rather than a singular ecosystem. The result is chaos, confusion, and inconsistent item prices. That’s why it’s considered necessary to use Tamriel Trade Center at a minimum. This addon gives you global price listing information on each item in the game, essentially aggregating all of an item’s listings from other players running the program. We also recommend Master Merchant for the more serious traders out there. Whereas TTC shows listing prices, Master Merchant only shows completed purchases from guilds that you are in. It has significantly less data as a result, but at least you know those sales were completed. You can also choose to run both addons at the same time, but make sure you don’t confuse MM data for TTC data, or vice versa.
Once you’ve set up Tamriel Trade Centre by running the separate executable client before you log in, your next step is to maximize the Guild Trader system. Fill all five of your guild slots with trading guilds that have a dedicated trader. This may take some searching, but that’s what the new Guild Finder is for. Preferably, you’ll want each of your traders to operate in a distinct part of the world.
Next, scour the stalls for items that other players are selling below their average global value. Whenever you find good deals — TTC will spit out a red number when a listing is posted below the global average price — buy them and resell them through your own Guild Traders at a markup. When you’re ready to sell, just go to any public bank, speak to a teller, and navigate to the Guild Store option which opens the trading window. When setting up a listing, you’ll notice an immediate 8% fee applied to your total sale value. 1% is basically a deposit that gets returned to you once the listing is sold and 7% goes to the guild’s bank. Note that with five Guild Traders at your command, you can move a total volume of 150 listings at once. For a vastly improved Guild Store interface, we also recommend the Awesome Guild Store addon.
Depending on which cities you shop in, you may notice that some Guild Traders have more exhaustive inventories than others. This is because Guild Traders are priced on a blind bid system. Wealthier and more productive (and more exclusive) trading guilds are able to risk bidding higher stacks of gold — up to the tens of millions in some cases — to rent out traders that see the highest amount of traffic each week. Generally, this results in a server-wide trading culture where the most profitable guilds are more stringent. They’re able to stay on top by keeping a constant inflow of capital from sales taxes, raffles, weekly dues, and auctions. Nevertheless, in order to make the most money from flipping, you’ll want to work your way into the most prestigious guilds.
I’d like to add that you should never buy up all the cheap items in your own guild and flip them inside of the same guild. Many trading guilds are run by smart people who compulsively check the trade logs. And they will gladly give you a swift boot if/when they catch you playing arbitrage with other members’ wares. Furthermore, crafted items are permanently marked with the name of the character who created them. It’s safe to say that Dagoth Purr won’t be happy when they catch you selling their shipment of Markarth Mead at a 25% markup.
Go Heavy on Crafting – ESO Gold Farming Method 3
Completing all seven daily crafting writs — including the Jewelry Crafting writs which you must first earn your certification for in Alinor — results in an assured 4.6k gold per day for a single level 50 character. However, any character can begin fulfilling their daily crafting writs starting at level 6 after completing basic certification quests in Davon’s Watch, Vulkhel Guard, or Daggerfall depending on their alliance. The gold reward per writ scales up from 215 gold at level 6 to exactly 664 gold at level 50. The best way to milk the daily writs system in Elder Scrolls Online is to level all eight possible toons up to 50. If one character takes five minutes to complete all seven daily writs, that translates to 36.8k gold in approximately 40 minutes.
Note: In order to consistently slam your crafting writs each day, you’ll need to harvest enough resources to keep up with daily demand. I’ve detailed how to max your resource income in the “Grind Resources” section above.
Arguably, the best part of crafting writs is that you earn money independently from your progress in the crafting skill lines. Meaning that your characters can absolutely bomb at crafting and still earn daily gold rewards. The items you earn, however, always scale to the current rank of the passive crafting skill line that corresponds to item tier.
On that note, we recommend picking up the following passive skills for a better return on investment.
- Chemistry III (Alchemy): Each crafting attempt produces 4 potions or 16 poisons.
- Chef III (Provisioning): Each crafting attempt produces 4 food items.
- Brewer III (Provisioning): Each crafting attempt produces 4 drinks.
When you complete a daily writ in a passive crafting skill line that you’ve hit maximum rank in, there’s a high chance that you’ll earn legendary (yellow) ingredients, master writs, and surveys. Items from the former two categories will fetch competitive prices with other players, and items from the latter one will point you to caches of rich resource nodes. Download the Lost Treasure addon to find said resource nodes quicker.
For personal ease of mind, you should choose a go-to city where you will always travel when it’s time to complete your daily crafting writs. You want a city where writ boards and crafting stations are arranged closely together. The best three are Vivec City, Rawl’kha, and Stormhold. Additionally, if you feel like manually completing writs in ESO is too monotonous, download the Lazy Writ Crafter addon for a GUI button that automatically crafts your writ items for you.
As for the value of crafted goods, you’ll find that alchemy and provisioning are high-yield professions. Furniture crafting is also notable for how much money you can make. Yellow, purple, blue, and even green furniture pieces can sell for thousands or tens of thousands of gold per unit. Naturally, the art of fashioning high-value furniture calls for a more sophisticated composition of skills than the average crafter would ever need. If you’re the type of ESO player who already allocates time and skill points into each of their primary crafting passives, you may want to consider entering the furniture trade.
You still need to loot, steal, or buy recipes for each type of furniture, food and/or beverage you want to construct, but with a constant stream of materials, you can pump out items and keep your volume high. Once again, you’ll want to fill each of your five guild slots with trading guilds so you can post up to 150 listings at once.
Live Your Best Life… of Crime – ESO Gold Farming Method 4
If you don’t mind getting your precious hands dirty, you’ll find that criminal activity always pays in Elder Scrolls Online. You may choose to murder, steal, or murder and steal in a rampantly unhinged cycle. Regardless, you will consistently find items worth hundreds or (much rarer) even thousands of gold coins in back pockets and back drawers.
My first bit of advice for those who engage in illicit activity is to remain stealthed as often as possible. When in stealth mode, your reticle will tell you whether you’re Hidden or Detected. That said, it’s never a good idea to commit crimes out in the open. If a guard kills you or you willingly pay fines to one, the stolen goods in your inventory are apprehended and forever sent to the void. Remember to stay Hidden and keep your eyes peeled for wandering NPCs.
My second piece of advice is to launder items that have other uses than selling directly to an NPC. For instance, you’ll want to launder crafting items, motifs, recipes, and other items that you can use to participate in the player economy. You may also choose to launder potions, equipment, lockpicks, soul gems, and other utility items.
The best way to maximize your efficiency as a criminal in ESO is to pursue and completely fill out your Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, and Legerdemain skill lines. Here are the most important skills you can take:
- Trafficker (Legerdemain): Allows you to sell and launder additional goods, up to 180% of the default value (at Rank IV), equating to 140 total sales and 140 total launders per day.
- Light Fingers (Legerdemain): Increases the chance of successfully pickpocketing an NPC, up to 50% (at Rank IV).
- Locksmith (Legerdemain): Increasing your odds of picking a lock, up to 70% (at Rank IV).
- Scales of Pitiless Justice (Dark Brotherhood): Decreases Bounty and Heat from a witnessed murder or assault by up to 50% (at Rank IV).
- Padomaic Sprint (Dark Brotherhood): Makes you move up to 30% faster for 12 seconds after you assassinate an NPC (at Rank IV).
- Haggling (Thieves Guild): Gives you up to 10% in increased profits from fenced items (at Rank IV).
- Clemency (Thieves Guild): Adds a dialogue option to temporarily let you off the hook with the guards if you’re accosted by one. Lasts for 1 minute. Only works once per day.
- Swiftly Forgotten (Thieves Guild): (At Rank IV) makes Bounty disappear at a rate of 115 and makes Heat disappear at a rate of 64 per every 3 minutes.
- Dark Stalker (Vampirism): Lets you ignore movement speed penalty while sneaking, also lets you enter stealth 50% quicker at night.
Inevitably, the fuzz will catch up with you at some point or another. This is the way of criminal life in Tamriel, and you can’t hurt or kill guards. Take The Steed Mundus Stone bonus for a 10% movement speed buff. It’ll come in handy when you need to run. You might also consider taking the Shadowy Supplier skill from the Dark Brotherhood line. It generates an NPC in Outlaws Refuges that gifts you random items once per day. Gifted items from the Shadowy Supplier can range from Edicts to Roguish Stealth Draughts, both of which greatly assist when escaping the law.
Additionally, the Alchemy skill line allows you to concoct Invisibility Potions. These potions are crucial for evading the prying eyes of NPCs in heavily guarded areas (where you’ll find the best loot). Take the Laboratory Use passive at Alchemy Rank 15, then gather and mix the following three ingredients together to get Invisibility Potions which also grant a speed boost:
- Namira’s Rot: Commonly found next to trees, in caves, and in shaded areas.
- Scrib Jelly: Looted off of Kwama mobs in Stonefalls, Bal Foyen, Vvardenfell, and Deshaan.
- Nirnroot: Found next to bodies of water, rivers, and streams.
Remember that the best items in ESO are stored away in Thieves Troves, safeboxes, and in the homes and apparel of nobles. You can eyeball an NPC to see what their social status is — the higher the social class, the better chance you’ll have at finding valuable items when you pickpocket and/or kill them. Furthermore, you’re more likely to discover blue and green items (worth 250 and 100 gold, respectively) inside of a well-guarded palace than you would if you were looting some poor beggar’s campsite.
Note that you may pickpocket an NPC a second time after an arbitrary cooldown timer is reached. I’d strongly encourage you to pickpocket and then subsequently murder the same NPC to obtain multiple drops. Just make sure the coast is clear! Any witnesses will automatically place a bounty on your head.
When you’re ready to offload your goods, head to the nearest Outlaws Refuge and speak to a fence. You can also pay gold to clear your outstanding bounty. By default, you can only fence and launder 50 items per day when starting out in ESO, so choose your deals wisely.
Farm Mobs in Public Dungeons – ESO Gold Farming Method 5
Public dungeons in ESO are brimming with encounters that spawn five or more mobs in clusters. Encounters in public dungeons also appear to have much shorter respawn timers than anywhere else. Thus, as you circle through a public dungeon and take out each cluster of enemies, you’re likely to glean gold and loot at a higher rate per minute than you would in other hunting grounds. More specifically, you’ll find the best results in public dungeons where Imperials are present. This is because Imperial mobs tend to drop more gold, more frequently.
Based on the above criteria, here are a few of the most popular public dungeons where Imperial mobs will show up:
- The Vile Manse (Reaper’s March)
- Razak’s Wheel (Bang’korai)
- Crimson Cove (Malabal Tor)
Note that public dungeon farming is only manageable if you’ve equipped your character to dish out AOE (area-of-effect) damage. The Destruction Staff and Bow are great weapon types for dealing damage, as both offer at least one worthy AOE skill:
- Volley (Bow): Launches a volley of arrows at a target location (with a radius of 5m) for 8 seconds.
- Elemental Storm (Destruction Staff): Builds a storm at a target location (with a radius of 8m) for 2 seconds, then unleashes a damage-over-time effect on all nearby enemies for 7 seconds.
- Wall of Elements (Destruction Staff): Based on staff element, creates an 18 x 8m zone in front of the caster for 6 seconds that deals damage-over-time and causes elemental status ailments.
- Impulse (Destruction Staff): Instantly deals damage in a 6m radius around the caster.
Templars, Wardens, Sorcerers, and Dragonknights come with at least one skill that’s excellent for AOE. Here are some class skills to look out for:
- Blazing Spear (Templar): Sends down a shower of divine damage in an 8m radius for 8 seconds.
- Impaling Shards (Warden): Summons shards of ice in a 6m radius for 12 seconds.
- Lightning Splash (Sorcerer): Creates a storm in a 4m radius for 6 seconds.
- Fiery Breath (Dragonknight): Breathes fire in a cone of up to 10m in front of the caster, dealing instant damage and applying damage-over-time for 8 seconds.
Nightblades are excellent for direct damage abilities, but don’t really have much AOE going for them besides the Soul Shred ultimate. As mentioned in the disclaimer at the beginning of the guide, we’re not taking Elsweyr additions into account. That said, there are some great PVE Necromancer builds available on AlcastHQ.
Moreover, there are a few important Champion Point allotments that can make mob farming even easier in ESO. Spell Erosion will make each of your AOE spells ignore opponents’ armor (based on your spell penetration value vs. their armor value), causing them to take more damage and die faster. Likewise, Piercing creates an equivalent effect for abilities that cause physical weapon penetration. You should also put CPs into Precise Strikes, which ups physical critical rating, and Elfborn, which does the same for spell crits.
Hunt Down Recipes, Runeboxes, and Motifs – ESO Gold Farming Method 6
As it stands; recipes, runeboxes, and motifs are the most valuable item classes in ESO. Some will sell for as low as 1k gold, and others as high as 1 million or more. Tools like Tamriel Trade Center and Master Merchant can help you evaluate an item’s market price. You can find runeboxes in rare drops during special server events and during Veteran Trials. Meanwhile, recipes and motifs are infrequently hidden inside of inconspicuous containers (such as backpacks, desks, barrels, crates, and urns), treasure chests, and unlooted NPC corpses.
Take heed on selling every recipe you come across if you’re a crafter. You can theoretically craft an infinite number of items from a single recipe, barred only by the quantity of materials in your Craft Bag. Thus, you might find excellent value in consuming an expensive recipe and profiting from the goods that it produces. Pay attention to the TTC value of a recipe’s product before redeeming or selling the recipe. If the product value is lower than the value of its requisite crafting materials, sell the recipe. If it’s higher, redeem the recipe and sell its products.
Party Like It’s 2E 576
Now that you’ve made some money in Elder Scrolls Online, how are you supposed to enjoy it? Buy a nice house, purchase that legendary CP160 armor set you’ve been eyeing at the market stalls, and splurge on an expensive runebox. Don’t like the skills you chose? Respec them. Furthermore, you can (and should) invest gold into expanding your bank and personal inventory spaces as often as possible.
Have fun tycooning in Tamriel! Or not. Props to ZeniMax for creating a world where most content isn’t hidden behind a progression wall, and where the highest commodities are aesthetic. While this is a guide for making a large quantity of gold, you won’t have a lesser experience in ESO if you simply choose to ignore it and play your own way.